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I'm brand new to the Blender world (and 3D in general). I started diving in about a week ago, with the ultimate goal of making assets for a video game project I plan to start next year with some friends.

My question is what is the de facto workflow to create meshes, apply maps, texturing and lighting effects for game art? I'm especially hazy as to where and how you create the various maps (like normal and height maps) and add textures (i.e. wood, steel, etc.)... Is that typically all done in Blender and brought directly into your game engine or would that part of the process handled in Unity/Unreal?

I've seen some great tutorials online but they usually only handle one part of the puzzle and don't explain how the various pieces are integrated. The more detail you can provide, the better! I'm a longtime Photoshop user, but if you explain the process from the Gimp perspective, I'm sure I can figure out how to translate it to PS.

Specifically

  • Do applied Blender shaders work in game engines or are they only for rendering directly from Blender?
  • If so, do lighting effects (like emissive materials and specularity) work in an equivalent way in other game engines?
  • Can you stack multiple maps (i.e. diffuse + specular) and then import the targeted asset in another program?
  • When you unwrap a mesh, can you import it into photoshop? Is there a "best practice" to doing so? Any tutorials you'd recommend?

TL;DR

What is the standard game asset workflow for Blender? For example:

high-poly mesh in Blender >
bake to low-poly mesh >
UV unwrap >
digital paint and maps in Photoshop >
apply maps, shaders and lighting in game engine (Unity/Unreal/whatevs)

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  • $\begingroup$ Blender is a tool (like a hammer). You can use it to create 3D models, animations, materials, textures ... . There is no standard workflow. You have to develop your own personal process by your own. It strongly depends on what other tools you are using (especially the game engine of your choice). $\endgroup$ – Monster Nov 2 '15 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'll be using Unity. My biggest question is if you can do textures, maps and shaders in Blender and port those over to your game engine or if it has to be done in-engine. For instance, I read elsewhere that game engine lighting works very differently than something raytraced like Cycles. Granted, I'm sure there isn't a "this-is-the-ONLY-way-to-do-it" type of workflow, but perhaps there are some fairly common ones? $\endgroup$ – SC_Chupacabra Nov 2 '15 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ In that case you use Blender as asset creation tool (like Gimp). That has nothing to do with the build-in Blender Game Engine (it will not create any asset for you). For details you should check the according Unity resources (tutorials, manuals, forums ...). $\endgroup$ – Monster Nov 5 '15 at 8:05
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There are many ways. Sometimes, I use this way:

  1. model low poly first
  2. UVunwrap it
  3. texturing
  4. In properties panel, go to "data" tab and then "UVmaps", add a second UV map by clicking on the plus button, highlight it by clicking on it, unwrap the low poly model for a second time for a good unwrapping because of the texturing
  5. create a new texture and bake "textures" and normal maps
  6. Remove all materials and the second UV map
  7. duplicate the low poly
  8. add more details to the second low poly models
  9. bake normal map of the the high poly mesh on the low poly one
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